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U.K. Debt, Financial Restraints Are a Joke

Updated on September 22, 2018
ethel smith profile image

With a keen interest in British politics this writer is never afraid to share her opinion

Will Parliament feel the credit crunch?
Will Parliament feel the credit crunch?

The Condem coalition government 2010

The coalition government of the UK, announced its first budget June 22, 2010.

As expected it included budget cuts.

The Tory Liberal Democrat coalition was adamant that these cuts would be fair and across the board.

No more one law for the rich and one for the poor but in reality this was far from the truth.

However, they masked matters well and played a cunning hand.

People on the whole accepted a tightening of their belts was inevitable and to be endured.

This meant that the June 24 news reports, regarding massive bonuses for Network Rail chiefs, came as a slap in the face to those ordinary people who struggle to survive on a daily basis

They also proved embarrassing for the sanctimonious so-called Condem government.

Fat Cats Rule

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Ian Coucher is to receive 641,349 as a golden hand shake whilst other workers are to have their measly pay and pensions attackedPhillip Hammond transport Secretary
Ian Coucher is to receive 641,349 as a golden hand shake whilst other workers are to have their measly pay and pensions attacked
Ian Coucher is to receive 641,349 as a golden hand shake whilst other workers are to have their measly pay and pensions attacked
Phillip Hammond transport Secretary
Phillip Hammond transport Secretary

Network Rail Fiasco 2010

Rail transport in the U.K. when I was young, belonged to the country. It was nationalized transport with pros and cons.

As a nationalized industry British Rail was heavily subsidized by the Government, so in effect it was owned by the people.

The government was using taxpayers money after all.

During a previous Conservative party government the British railway system was broken up. Transport Secretary Cecil Parkinson committed the Thatcher government of the day to privatization of rail.

The Thatcher government held a virtual fire-sale of the country’s infrastructure and utilities and decades later we are still being ripped off.

Private enterprise was encouraged and ordinary people were advised to invest in companies by becoming shareholders. For a time it was a golden age and people were making a killing but it was short-lived.

Inevitably the glory days of rail came and went and now the U.K. rail system has plenty of problems.

British Rail had many problems when it was nationalized but what makes it difficult now is different companies own and run different parts of our railway system.

This has led to uneven pricing and a postcode lottery of reliability of services.

Network Rail still receives some tax payers money via government subsidizes

In 2010 the Coalition Government were at pains to insist that top salaries, particularly in the public sector, would be held back yet the boss of Network Rail received an obscene pay deal.

The Condems claimed they would not allow more massive salaries and bonuses but they lied.

In the private sector the government does not always have the power to stop such payments but if a company gets government and taxpayers money surely it should, as in the case of Network Rail.

Here are the details of what was announced:

  • The Chief Executive of Network Rail, Iain Coucher, will get bonuses of more than £640,000.
  • Other Network Rail directors are to get extra payments which all run into six-figure sums
  • All in all the railway bosses will receive a total of more than £2 million in bonus payments.

These announcements came a short time after the Transport Secretary, Phillip Hammond asked that Network Rail chiefs remembered how generous their ordinary pay was.

With such levels of annual salary, massive bonus payments are not necessary and, in the current economic climate, are an insult to other public sector workers.

One company executive, Rick Haythornthwaite, refused to take any bonuses but he did say Network Rail only rewards success.

Big deal.

With such generous salaries should these people receive any extra financial reward at all?

Surely being a success is simply doing your job?

When you consider that public sector workers, who earn more than £21,000 a year, will have their pay frozen for two years, and those that earn less than £21,000 a year will receive a flat £250 increase for each of the years, it is obvious something is wrong.

To Infinity and Beyond

So here we are September 2018.

Since this report regarding Network Rail bosses pay deals the U.K. has had:-

  • An in or out E.U. referendum.
  • Local council and by-elections.
  • Three general elections with little changing except the Conservatives tightening a grip on government.
  • David Cameron resigning as Tory Party leader and P.M. of the country.
  • Theresa May becoming leader of the Tory Party without a single challenger.

One thing looks certain - elections are a growth industry yet austerity is here to stay!

With calls for a second E.U. Referendum or People's Vote as it is being popularly described British politics is currently shambolic.

The Conservative Party did not win a clear majority to govern the country. Mrs May leads what is called a hung Parliament.

Her government is propped up by the D.U.P of Northern Ireland but for a huge price and selectively.

Breixt is a poisoned chalice and perhaps no single party really wants to be runni g the country just now.

But in the midst of this, ongoing austerity measures which affect some of the poorest and most vulnerable people in British society looks st to roll on and on.

The fact is that is a political choice and down to this governments priorites while in office.

The following highlights the current governments pedigree.

News reports this week that Windrush generation members will be refused citizenship are shocking. The Independent reports:-

In a statement issued late on Friday afternoon, the Home Secretary said a number of Caribbean nationals who came to Britain between 1948 and 1971 would not qualify for citizenship because they failed to meet the “necessary good character requirement” due to committing criminal offences.

Windrush citizens are supposed to be afforded the same rights as British citizens, so the announcement is likely to prompt renewed accusations that they are effectively awarded second-class status.

Shame on the British government.

© 2010 Ethel Smith


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